Most will find that Modern Jam Rock, while different, is almost just as good as older jam bands such as The Grateful Dead or The Allman Brother Band. Also, many would say that jam bands are very good live and sometimes better than in studio. These opinions are no exception with Dispatch, and American jam band trio formed in 1996 in Boston. Their simple, catchy music and style appealed to thousands throughout the 90s and early 00s despite the fact that they did not sign to a record label until they broke up in 2003. Why? Because they played such great live shows and did an excellent job entertaining their crowd. During their many tours, they changed the shape of songs on their 4 albums, making them sound new and often better than the studio versions and often making them more complex, but still enjoyable. In 2001, after 7 years of playing live and 3 albums under their belt, Dispatch released the live two-disc set Gut the Van. Gut the Van is a collection of 23 live songs recorded in different places at different times throughout Dispatchs career. It is a superb live album and displays the amazing musicianship of each of the three members.
Dispatch is no ordinary trio. Not only can they each play several instruments, they can play each well. Often they switch roles in the band, putting someone else on lead vocals or drums. All three of the members sing creating truly wonderful harmonies and a unique feeling that goes great with the Jimi Hendrix like guitars and light, simple drumming. Often Dispatch changes it up a bit, switching from a bass, drums and electric guitar to two acoustic guitars and bongos making songs like Two Coins and Questioned Apocalypse great to listen to. The song Flying Horses has a similar instrumentation, except it features a harmonica that adds a different effect not like other Dispatch songs. One of the great things about this album is that the songs sound a lot different live than in the studio. Bang Bang which, in the studio, is fast and simple takes on a different, slower personality with more harmonies and a longer guitar solo including a drum solo. Also, probably their most famous song, The General, is played with an electric guitar live rather than an acoustic.
The great thing about Dispatchs music, is its so catchy and simple. Simple lyrics, simple chords, simple melodies, its not brilliant, but great and you can hear the love and energy they put into this music. On songs like Mission and Railway (which, by the way, features a kick @ss solo), you can tell there having fun and enjoying playing these wonderful songs. Another great attribute that makes Dispatch such an excellent band is that they are very good instrumentalists. On songs like Cover This and Bullet Holes the guitar playing is phenomenal and on tracks such as Time Served and 5/4 Hear We Go you can clearly hear the great bass playing and lines. Overall, Dispatch creates simple music with some great musicianship.
I highly recommend Dispatch to any jam band lover because they truly are an amazing band. Gut the Van is a wonderful live album and recommended to any fan, even if you own all the studio version of the songs on this cd. The catchy vocal harmonies and guitar will be enjoyed by any music lover and even if you don’t own any Dispatch albums, this isn’t a bad place to start because this album contains some of their best songs from their catalogue and the versions of these songs are just as good or even better than they are in the studio. So in general, Dispatch is a wonderful band and could diffidently be loved by everyone, and this is a great live album recommended to all fans and lovers of jam music.
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Flea is Godly